Chapter 12 Tuesday 1930 hours (7:30 PM)
Rom folded up the rubber boat and tied it to his pack. He hefted the pack to his shoulders and set off for the Mexican Wolf Habitat. He'd planned to use the wolf enclosure as his base of operations for it offered protection from wandering cats.
After tossing his pack over the fence, Rom vaulted over into the wolf habitat. He tied the pack to a tree limb, out of reach of curious wolves and went back out to explore the zoo. He had gotten an idea, Chaba's idea, actually. If he could get his scouts out of the zoo, unobserved, and if he could get the other kid and his dad out as well, then the two guys who saw the cubs change would have no way of tracking down the pack. That might be good enough for Chaba.
Rom made his way to the Education Building. He moved cautiously for aside from drawing the attention of the released cats, he did not want to been seen by the two men who'd kept him from the canteen. Rom wasn't sure he'd recognize the men if he came across them, but he'd surely know them by scent.
Beneath the window of the dorm where the kids were housed, Rom paused. The window was dark, open, and there were no noises. It was too early for the kids to be asleep. Apparently, the cubs hadn't returned here after their outing as four-legged wolves. But what about the other kid?
Rom noticed the rope hanging out the window. It had foot loops tied in it. Rom thought at first it was there so his scouts could get back up to their room. But that would have implied some advance planning on the part of his scouts. "Planning? That's impossible," said Rom under his breath.
Rom shrugged, then climbed the rope himself. The loops are too big for just kids' feet.
He looked in the window. Nothing. Only a jumble of scout uniforms, and no trace of Jeffrey, the other kid. Rom shimmied back down. Apparently Jeffrey had escaped too--one more person Rom had to find and collect. And maybe Jeffrey's dad escaped with him. Maybe that's what the rope was for.
By now, the zoo had gotten very dark, and searching would be difficult.